Sukeyo Fuchi was a renowned stage performer, a beauty well known for her gripping performances. Her daughter, Kasane, however, is known as the ugly girl in school and is openly mocked. When Sukeyo dies, Kasane remembers her mother telling her to take a certain lipstick out of her drawer to use it for herself.
In the dark fantasy manga Kasane, the title character discovers that her mother’s lipstick has the power to allow the wearer to swap faces with another person—and not only their face, but their voice as well. With it, she is able to steal the face of an elementary school classmate and perform in a stage production in her place. It’s little wonder that she would take such an opportunity. Kasane’s childhood filled her with anger. She was emotionally abused by her classmates. Her Aunt disregarded her feelings. Her mother died and her father abandoned them. All of this, Kasane felt, was due to her lack of beauty.
The face swap, however, leads to unexpected consequences. After the performance, her classmate dies in a tragic accident, leaving Kasane’s face scarred.
Kasane hated her physical appearance and decided to use the beauty of others to achieve her goals. In her mind, she was fulfilling her late mother’s wishes.
As the series progresses, Kasane continues to use the lipstick to steal the faces of other women. She steals their faces, names, and voices to achieve a glory she never could alone. She abuses these women. Kasane lies, cheats, and even murders to reach her goal. She receives stolen glory as she snatches beauty from others.
Absalom was one of the sons of the Biblical King David. His life is first noted in the Bible because he murders his half-brother who had raped his sister. Absalom then flees Israel for a time.
Eventually, Absalom returns to Jerusalem and watches all that is occurring around him. Suffering for an act he felt was justified, Absalom believes that justice was not served. He felt he deserved the glory of the throne of Israel. And so for the next four years, Absalom bides his time while planning an uprising. He sows seeds of discontent among the people, continuously claiming his father did not provide justice. The Bible in 2 Samuel says that Absalom stole the hearts of the Israelites from the rightful king.
And indeed, Absalom succeeds in overthrowing his father—for a time. However, the stolen glory did not remain forever as David and his troops retake the Kingdom of Israel, and in the process, Absalom is killed.
Suffered and Stolen
Absalom and Kasane have more in common than you would think at first glance.
Both suffered early in life due in no small part to the success of their parents.
Both of them felt they deserved more than what they had.
Both of them felt they could use the glory or beauty of others better than the person who originally held the power.
And in both cases, their sins eventually caught up to them.
There is another examples I need to mention when considering those who capture that which does not belong to them. That person is me.
When Christ took the nails on the cross, He sacrificially suffered for us. He took our place permanently, bearing our shame and punishment. In so doing, the Lord granted us His undeserved merit—His grace.
I do not deserve this glory. I do not deserve eternal life. Yet, here I am, being transformed by Christ into a new self forgiven of my sins.
When I think about it, this feels wrong. It feels as though justice was not served. My sin (my face) was traded for Christ’s; He received death, and I received eternal life. I do not deserve the Lord’s grace, yet here I am snatching it from Him.
I am as bad as Kasane and Absalom.
I do not deserve forgiveness, and yet forgiveness is granted. I do not deserve grace, and yet grace is given. I do not deserve a chance to be in the presence of the Lord, Christ made that possible.
In his song, “I’m Guilty,” Christian hip-hop artist KJ-52 sings:
I confess now to what it was.
I was guilty of making the very Son of God now shed His blood, and
I was guilty of the reason now why He was hung, and
I’m guilty for every evil thing not that I have done.
I’m guilty for it all, I can’t blame no one.
I’m filthy with what caused the death of the Son.
It kills me to think I was the one who shed His blood.
I still think of the way He died now and how it was.
It feels me with pain inside, I feel like throwing up.
I can’t escape, I can’t lie, I didn’t make it up.
I was the one who took the life of the Holy One.
This is the first time I’ve confessed now to what I’ve done.
I’m guilty, guilty.
He’s right. I am guilty, too. But unlike both Absalom and Kasane, the glory I received was not stolen from others—Christ grants us His free gift of salvation willingly. And that’s how my story differs from theirs, veering away from suffering and death, and toward a life I equally do not deserve.
No, I don’t deserve the glory I’ve received, but that was the point. And that’s the beauty of God.
Volume one of Kasane can be ordered from Amazon.